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Toussie, bank reach $455,000 settlement with homeowners

Developer Robert Toussie and a local mortgage bank have agreed to pay $455,000 to settle a nearly decade-old lawsuit accusing them of conspiring to sell shoddily built, overpriced homes to more than 250 minority home buyers, mostly on Long Island.

A federal judge approved the agreements Dec. 22. They call for a Toussie-owned company to pay $55,000 and for PMCC Mortgage Corp. in Roslyn Heights to pay $400,000, according to documents filed in federal court in Central Islip.

The documents list 257 homeowners as members of the class-action lawsuit. They claimed that the Brooklyn-based developer, his son, Isaac, PMCC and others conspired to sell buyers substandard new homes, mostly in the Gordon Heights area on Long Island and on Staten Island. The Toussies and PMCC have denied the allegations.

"The settlement agreement reflects that a Toussie-owned company paid $55,000 to resolve the matter simply to avoid ongoing costs of litigation," said the Toussies' attorney, Joseph Petrosinelli of Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C.

The attorney for PMCC declined to comment.

One of the plaintiffs' attorneys also cited the length of the suit.

"Although we are somewhat disappointed with the result," said attorney Peter Seidman of Milberg Llp in Manhattan, "we believe that this is the best for all parties involved and that it is time to move on."

Robert Toussie's Flend Corp., one of about a dozen companies the developer and his son owned and sold homes through, agreed to pay the $55,000.

The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in July 2001, and noted that many of the homes sold had gone into foreclosure. Gordon Heights homeowner Maxine Wilson, the lead plaintiff, singled out for her time and expenses in pursuing the case, was awarded $10,000 of the settlement.

The case took many dramatic turns over the years. Isaac Toussie was sentenced to five months in prison in 2003 after pleading guilty to falsifying loan documents that illegally qualified about 100 home buyers for Federal Housing Administration mortgages. Then-President George W. Bush pardoned Toussie on Dec. 23, 2008, but rescinded it the next day after a local outcry.

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